Monday, September 22, 2008

Taking a Grade of "Incomplete" on this Assignment

Well, obviously I didn't make it to Thing 23--not even close! I lost quite a bit of time when I was away in the summer, and then never was able to put my regular work aside for the time it would have taken me to complete all of the Things. For this go-round, anyway. Perhaps I'll try again next time, if I can start where I've left off. :-)

I've learned a lot from the time I did spend on my blog, and depending on my regular workload, might even check out some of the Things I didn't get to. Maybe...but no promises. My job has changed since this Library 2.0 project began. I get to place orders for foreign language books and videos, which is both fun and challenging, and then when the books arrive, I catalog them. That's where I choose to spend my time these days, but I look forward to the next round of 23 Things. I wonder if they will be different...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thing 8--Destination Unclear, But I Know Where I've Been!

At the moment I'm not certain that I'll ever finish the rest of the 23 Things! We upgraded to a new version of our ILS *AND* switched to a new calendar program, both in the same week, and you know that those sorts of things always come with their own it's nearly September already!
I have a Flickr account, but haven't uploaded anything yet, so I didn't want to go that route. I decided to use public Flickr photos to describe where I went this summer and am able to "tell" you in seconds with the help of Picturetrail.

What a cool tool this is! Very easy to understand and navigate--heck, it worked the first time for me, so you know it must be easy. :-) This would be a great way to showcase a group of new books, DVDS, or music CDs--actually, anything with html for a cover image available. Or maybe you want to present your reference staff, or announce an upcoming event in the library. Picturetrail is an eye-catching way to do it.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thing 7-- Can We Talk?

This is another thing that (for me, at least) mainly requires me to blog, rather than to solve some technological puzzle.

As I look back over my library career, I think email has always been there, tho perhaps not in the earliest days. Heck, I remember when we didn't even have a printer in the technical services department, and we had to walk over to the computer center to pick up anything we had printed out. Obviously privacy was less of a concern back then...

Here at St Olaf College email has long been an accepted, even expected, form of communication; for most people it's as easy to use as the telephone (and unlike the telephone, the software remembers the address you are writing too, so you don't have to). I can't say that it has improved productivity, however, because people receive SO MUCH email. If the telephone rang as often as email arrived, people wouldn't be able to hear themselves think over the racket!
I haven't had the occasion to use online reference tools at all, so I can't speak about it from experience, but I do think that in theory it should be a very valuable tool, particularly for people in remote locations with no librarian or library nearby. I've read about how people in outlying areas make use of virtual doctor visits, appearing on camera and being evaluated by a doctor located often hundreds of miles away, and I think that online reference must be the library equivalent of that. Of course it's not only folks out in the boonies using online reference--I would think this would be popular with anyone who wants a question answered without having to get dressed or get into the car, or even walk across campus. Technology developed for a particular constituency often ends up as an option for everyone. Curb cuts are practically omnipresent on our sidewalks today, and we all use them, not just people with disabilities for whose benefit they were originally developed. I foresee a time, probably soon, when online reference is just one more service libraries provide, no longer newsworthy.

I'm a huge fan of IM and text messaging. I first became familiar with IM when my daughter attended college in Boston. I loved being able to reach her easily even tho she was physically so far away. I never used IM at work, however, preferring email or face-to-face contact, until St Olaf and Carleton merged their catalogs. Then I began to work much more closely with Sue, my Carleton colleague, as we helped iron out merger snafus in the catalog. We found that if we IM'd each other it was much less disrupting than phone calls would have been. We were both usually working in the database anyway, so it was easy to alt-tab over to MSN Messenger and continue typing, asking the other to look at this or that record, or wondering what the problem was now.
We both do a lot of authority work, and keep an IM session open all the time--there are always questions that need answering. Our productivity has gone up, and professionally we are closer, but an unexpected result is that a merger I wasn't enthusiastic about has yielded a good friend, all because she is right there, at the end of my keyboard, so to speak.

I learned SMS, or text messaging, by using it on my cell phone while traveling. That's really the only use I've made of it up to this point--not work-related at all. I think it's a fantastic tool to have, tho, and it certainly saved the day several times when I was traveling this summer--averting a missed rendezvous caused by misreading the calendar, and providing alternate transportation in the case of a botched connection.

I've "attended" a few webinars put on by Minitex (on metadata, Connexion, authority control and possibly others that I can't remember at the moment) and have found them to be very helpful. It saves taking time and spending money to go to someplace off site to learn, and I look forward to participating in more webinars in the future.

One last thing--Meebo. I no longer remember where I learned about it, but I do have an account, tho I don't use it regularly. I wanted to be able to chat from home with Sue, my Carleton colleague, and was unable to make MSN Messenger work on my computer. I can certainly see how this would be useful for libraries using online reference, as they would be able to communicate across a variety of IM platforms.

These many communication tools bring people together from all over the world, and serve to remind us how small that world has become.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thing 6--Don't Stop Now

Wow, Thing 6 went pretty quickly! I used Image Chef, created my message, and got out of that site--I wasn't there very long, just long enough to realize that I could easily spend hours playing around with words and pictures...

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I can see using Image Chef along with Flickr to create attention-getting publicity for the library.

I hope the PR committee knows about these tools!